Weary from the road

Christmas chocolate.small

“They say no pain no gain

I say roses are worth the rain!”

Or so the song went that I wrote back then

When “recovery” seemed like something I could attain.

Decades later I realized the wisdom of Robert Hasting’s Station

A place where you reach your goal, Nirvana, the prize, all you’ve been awaitin.’

Too bad life is often not like that:  the good, the bad, the ugly all take their turn

You never really know what you are going to get when your head lifts from the pillow at dawn.

And so goes my new treatment when things have gotten worse before getting better,

How is this even possible when it appeared the Lord orchestrated these steps to the letter.

Now faith means holding on to that which is unseen for the promise of my Lord’s Day

When the suffering will end, be redeemed for glory whether it comes soon or some other way.

I borrowed my beloved’s belief tonight when mine was just too shaken to go on any more–

With love in his eyes, his heart he prayed for healing and more once again like so many times before.

We know our Lord hears us and that we have His will, His heart within our own

I just pray I can hang on this weary road that seems to have gone on just too long.

[Please send chocolate . . . pure unsweetened cocoa butter works best right now.  JJ]

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My hope this night is the promise of my Lord and Savior that, “He will wipe every tear from (our) eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21:4  Somehow, someway, I am going to make it, Gentle Reader!

How do you measure a year?

September 18, 2014 was a day when I rediscovered the power of friendship at a new level.  ‘Tis fitting that we would spend our time reading the Psalms as we shared our lives with each other then tenderly prayed together.  Perhaps this is what women who love the Lord Jesus Christ do, eh?  Except that we were not meeting for a weekly video Bible study at church followed by coffee and treats.  This one touched our hearts more at home . . . literally!

In the past I have enjoyed Bible studies the best when we all meet in each other’s homes.  There is no better way to fellowship than to be immersed in the family pictures, dog hair, and dirty dishes of the ones you come to love in Christ.  In due time the host and hostess let go of having a clean house for everyone each week as we focus on what is really important:  opening up the truth of God’s word.  Prayer time was always my favorite.  The bonds between us became palpable as we lifted up each other’s hurts and victories before the Lord.  I do hope we glorified Him in doing so.

When serious illness struck my life October 11, 2011 my life slowly changed to one of almost total isolation.  Oh there were many visits to medical professionals, clinics, labs, hospitals, and pharmacies.  They were all very nice people, of course.  Going to Walmart became a rare “date night” with my beloved husband when I could not drive myself.  The highlight of my week often became buying groceries; somehow I ended up spending a little more money there than I probably should have perhaps in an attempt to find some alternative type of comfort.  Somehow new pair of sweats or comfy top would jump into the shopping cart on occasion as well!

Then the Lord inspired me to break the isolation beyond this blog.  I had some casual connections to a few of you Gentle Readers which delighted my soul, by the way.  How could this become more personal?  I published a blog in September of 2014 asking if anyone would be interested in starting up a Bible study/prayer time via Skype?  Perhaps there were other gals out there who were largely homebound like me and ready to connect before the Lord’s table.  Two gals graciously responded:  YES!

Each of us had different reasons for coming together.  Each of us had our own blogs and followings, outside interests, and experiences with our health.  We represented 3 different decades of life, 2 different countries and States, living situations either outside larger cities or in the country, and only one blonde.  (She is gonna kill me for writing that!)  We bonded quickly.

One gal who joined our group to be an encourager ended up facing one of the biggest health battles of her life this past year.  Two of us went in and out of relapses with illness and one endured a major upheaval in her husband’s job situation.  Two of us have also met face-to-face twice with hopes of a giggly reunion of all three of us perhaps this year?  I hope so!  Together we (have) cried, we laughed.  We prayed; we shared silly stories.  There were exchanges of recipes, websites, scripture, and more. We were encouraged by the love stories of the Psalms ministering to our feminine hearts.  And most of all we became friends.

So how do you measure the value of a year in life?  As this passionate theme song from the movie Rent speaks of sunsets, cups of coffee, laughter, and sighs, I do know that on Thursday night we three have shared them all this past year.  I agree with the chorus line to:  measure your life in love.  Because of you my dear ones, my year was richly blessed!

Thank you ladies for changing my life and ministering to me in a way that has made a difference.  May the Lord be glorified in all that we say and do, all that we write, and in the prayers that we lay before His throne of grace each week.  In the meantime,

“I am going to Rome.”

You two know what that means!  Happy one year anniversary!

Seeya next time ladies.  Love you, Julie

The Tale, The Test

Once upon a time in a land of giants, lived a woman searching for a dream.  The tall buildings and tall tales of love had left her scorned . . . what now to believe in?  “Who can I trust with the tender desires of my heart? she pondered.  And what would she do to make some sense of this story of hers that has not turned out like anyone had planned really?

Once upon a time in a land of lakes and rivers, backyards that you can really afford, and the modest building of boxes, lived a noble man.  He too had been scorned but by a shrewy one, shrinking his honorable stature in society and beyond.  And what will he do to calm the distant tempests of this life, to live in peace no matter what may come?

As fate would have it, the two dreamers met over the wires one cold Wintry day.  He warmed her with his intellect and she him with her remaining spark.  The love between them grew with passion, with promise of a happy ending together one day maybe soon.  So they married.  And life was good in the land not far away.

She learned to love the countryside, the bearded natives, the giant heart of her Sterjoy.  For in his arms she found love like no other.  “Jesus with skin on,” she would say.  Her night in shining aluminum for sure was now here.

He learned to love the green of the earth, the richness of organic life, the sweet spirit of his Jaboo.  For in her keeping he found respect as the man, the leader within that would emerge over time.  His delight he spoke of often; her delight to receive.

They found things in common:  to write, the open water, a furry Pupster too.  Road trips were a perfect match for his love to drive through the night with her lunchbox that was filled with all of their favorite things in tow.  Their families said, “at last!” and even the kids eventually came around as well.  Theirs was something unique crafted just for these years as all could see.  Their heartache had melted into a life that was lovely to the praise of the Lord who brought them together indeed.

Their biggest moment came four years later; no one saw it coming that fateful night.  ‘Twas a mystery at first as to why she was so sick and then why it would last so long.  They struggled and prayed, they searched and laid hands, they cried and they celebrated when hope would come for a little while at a rest stop in their lengthening journey.

Then things got uglier and she seized relentlessly day after night!  She reached for her Sterjoy with angst and often no words would come but the love between them would endure nonetheless.  He continued to slay dragons then try to minister to his wife late into the darkness without fail.  The toll was palpable yet they lived on, trying and hoping only to have their hearts thrown against the wall time and time again.  Herein was THEIR TEST.

Some tests take 2 hours, some longer, up to the duration of your life.  How will you respond when the buttons in the fabric of your character are pushed into your soul?  Most of us won’t know until it happens to us.  And if we make it to the other side who will care when it’s even worse at the next one waiting beyond:  oh no, it’s here again, the next trial?  When all you know matters not with the tears that collect on your worn sneakers that you are sure can take you no further, no further, I said no further, you are done!

They pondered and prayed some more.  They searched the Scriptures of Life.  Fellows held them up then held them out for a blessing, for respite, and neither seemed to come as the sunrise cast into its fall.  Then they realized that there were wounds in their hearts that their love had blinded them to . . . placing them on the chopping block or maybe for ransom and neither was able to make it different: oh my, just how?  They had done all they knew to do, that which prayer and inspiration had taught.  But it was their woundedness that needed to go first you see.  It had to leave whether she would realize her last breath or not.  To go on would require this.  How to keep the music playing in their hearts for each other was the real test right now!

So being the faithful man of God, Sterjoy separated the shrewy from his Jaboo.  He placed both on the throne of grace and turned his face to Jesus Christ for Thy will to be done.  He waited again.  He trusted in the Lord over all then waited and waited once again.

She being the receiver of the Spirit’s voice, obeyed in a way like never before.  She trusted even in the time when crisis came around again:  like a weak muscle that got worked but had only brought forth a crawl thus far.  And as she would trust and trust some more until her mind won over her heart, until both of them became strong.

Their story has yet to end while one thing they now know for sure.  The trials of this life are never wasted when the Lord carries you through in his chariot of grace, of love, and His promise for so much more.  Those two lovers hold out for the hope of heaven and know there they both will find rest.  Their love will be perfected by the Giver whose thoughts exceed the sands of the beaches where their lives have taken hold.

This day she has learned to believe her beloved and he, the heart of his dear one.

couple at sunset, couple by the shore, kissing, sunrise, couple at sunrise, Christian marriage, Christian couple

Gentle Reader, this story is a perfect image of the Groom as He envelopes His bride of Christ, His holy church.  How fitting a tale.  How fitting a test for us all. Sterjoy and Jaboo will live happily ever after one day without tears for trusting in the One due our complete respect:  our Lord in shining honor! He is here for these precious ones in their time of need. He is there for you my dear friend too.

Oh yeah. JJ

 

The liver that got away

Roger looked more like a tall, lanky college student than a young adult with schizophrenia.  He was also smart:  well-studied as if to be a medical school student long before the days where WebMD could make the rest of us stand out from our peers on a particular topic of interest.  There was one problem with Roger’s course of study, however.  I met him shortly after what could have been his second fatal mistake.

Roger believed that removal of his liver would cure his schizophrenia.  Yes, truly, and he would talk about it with a straight face in earnest to his psychiatrist.  Roger had poured over medical books, secured all the tools and supplies of a typical surgical suite, and attempted a procedure at home in the past.  When he could not control the bleeding at some point during the procedure he called the paramedics and was rushed to a local hospital.  They patched him up and transferred him to the mental health unit where he stayed until his psychiatric medication could be “adjusted.”

Within a short time after discharge Roger re-doubled his efforts.  He gathered more supplies for a second attempt at a total liver resection.  Somehow he never read that the liver is a vital organ and that he would die if he ever succeeded.  And who knows where he found sterile drapings, forceps, lancets, and such in the days long before Amazon and Medline?  What he did not expect the second time was the intolerable pain he would experience as he got deeper into his surgery.  He was alone and got scared.  Again he called the paramedics, was hospitalized, and landed on the mental health unit.

I worked as an occupational therapist on that unit with the even lower functioning clients than Roger.  While he was not one of my patients, his notoriety was the talk of the nursing station.  What incredible bravery it would take to operate on oneself with what, a handheld mirror?  I mean, how exactly did he do it?  I think I recall that he was discharged to a residential facility after his hospital stay in an effort to preserve his life lest he make a third attempt.  The delusion that excision of his liver could cure his mental illness was simply too strong to believe that he would ever give up his theory until he died trying to make it so.

And so here I find myself four days before my own surgical procedure, banking on a theory that excision of two teeth will save my own life.  Have I too succumbed to the “Roger effect?”  When contrasted to sick thinking, we all like to think that ours is different.  After all, I have done my research and can find clinical and anecdotal evidence that what I have asked an oral surgeon to do will cure the worst of my ills.  Dr. R doesn’t agree with my suppositions (a biologic dentist did!) yet is willing to proceed to diminish years of dental pain AND after having required extraordinary precautionary measures!  Lord willing all will be completed on Thursday, March 26th:  my spirit will no longer be crushed with the virtual hell that has left me bedridden most days.  (See this blog for details: https://justjuliewrites.com/2015/03/01/only-my-potato-chips-remain-crushed-today/)

Looking back to my days working in mental health I realized that I have come a long way in my view of the world.  Today I am more willing to ask the tough questions of life than in the past.  I see that I am not so different from many of the patients who landed in a “psych ward.”  By the grace of God I did not have to be admitted or committed when my despair exceeded my ability to cope.  Somehow the Lord provided the hope, the help, the peace to carry on until the day when the pain was no longer unbearable.  Gratefully, much emotional pain has left my life for good.  Much joy has taken it’s place even in the face of this horrible illness.  My internal joy is no longer measured by my circumstances; He has allowed me to overcome immeasurable desperation.  I believe that things will begin to turnaround this week.  This week people!

If he is still alive today, I do hope that Roger has found some peace with his struggles.  Wherever you are today dear one, I pray these words from the Lord for you and your loved ones.  Sometimes letting go of that one thing that got away in our lives is the very thing that brings us to all that we seek:  the joy that passes all understanding.

John 16:33 (NIV)

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16.33

Off in the distance

Time is right

This is a tough one for me and likely for everyone reading this at some level or another.  Let’s add a Biblical perspective:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens  (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.  (Lamentations 3:25-26)

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  (Galatians 6:9)

And there is more from my own experience in life.  Waiting on the Lord in the past was where my faith in Him was strengthened.  I remember a time when the crisis was so severe that the Pastor and Elders in my church kept asking me how I was doing with the basics of life:  eating, drinking enough fluids and sleeping.  Yes, they were all a struggle.  By the grace of God and many good sojourners I got through that season of life with sweet victory.  And here I am again in another . . .

March 26th is the day that Steve and I hope everything will start to change for the better.  As written in the potato chip blog, we believe that a dental procedure will vastly reduce if not eliminate the hours of daily convulsive episodes.  Yesterday it was on and off for 24 hours!  You know it’s bad when you see stars and are gasping for air.  Despite nearly a hundred episodes, somehow I read a book while in lying in bed.  It served to protect my mind from dwelling on the wretchedness when I could focus.  I am hoping it preserves a few of the neuronal synapses in my brain from damage.  And focusing despite the pain does carry me through the daytime, the nighttime.  Talking to Jesus a lot is a given . . . .

Thirteen more days and this hell could be over.  In one month will be the 3-year anniversary of when the tics began while thinking I needed to treat a clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease with a fancy Rife machine.  The Beam Ray was a mistake for me.  It has taken 3 long years and many failed attempts at various treatments to figure out what is causing the tazoring of my central nervous system.  Lord willing with removal of the source of what could be “dental galvanism” in my head, I will begin to heal from so much.  And so in my weakness I rest at the throne of grace that delivers me each day unto the next.  Lord willing, I am going to get well.  Off in the distance is the hope of this new beginning for me and my beloved, Stevers.  We are hopeful that His goodness awaits.

Gentle Reader:  Just wait for the shining glory of His light through the words on this page as that day comes.  Are you ready for it?  Brace for impact!  It’s going to be a good day real soon!  Like the old Barbara Streisand song goes, “there ain’t no tellin’ what a satisfied woman can do!”  ;J